Best Apps 2014
Your mobile device might have cutting-edge specs and a sleek design, but if you don't install the right apps, you're missing out. Whether you're using the latest Android phone or tablet, an iPad, iPhone or Windows Phone, we've found the best apps. From news apps and photo editors to fitness tools and first-person shooters, we've organized all the top apps by topic and platform in the column at left. Below, you'll find our list of the 10 best apps overall.
10 Must-Have Apps for 2014
Best Dating App: Match.com
For those serious about finding someone to date, not just hook up with, you're best going with a paid service. And Match.com would top our list of those. The app is free, but to get the full benefits you'll want to sign up for a 3-, 6- or 12-month subscription that can range in price from $16 to $20 per month. Through the app you can create a profile, upload photos, check out people near you, exchange email addresses and see who's been peaking at your profile.
MORE: Best Dating Apps 2014
Best Android Security App: Avast Mobile Security & Antivirus
The first app you should download when you get a new Android device is download the Avast Mobile Security & Antivirus app. Not only is it highly customizable -- even for rooted phones -- it offers an unparalleled feature set. Not only will it protect your device from malware, but it will help you back up your data to the cloud. Plus, the interface is easy to navigate.
Best News App: LinkedIn Pulse
With thousands of news sites on the Web, you could spend all day cruising their home pages for interesting articles and still miss out. LinkedIn Pulse organizes your favorite feeds into an attractive, grid-style interface that makes it easy to keep up with the headlines using a custom feed of all your favorite sites and topic areas. Pulse also ties in to your Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Tumblr accounts.
MORE: 5 Best News Apps
Best Cloud and Sync App: Dropbox
What happens on your phone shouldn't stay on your phone. Dropbox automatically syncs files between your computer, phone and tablet. When you save a document or photo to the Dropbox folder on your mobile device, it immediately downloads to the Dropbox directory on your PC. You can even configure the app to sync photos to the cloud as soon as you take them. Create and manage shared folders with the app, which was redesigned to align with iOS 7's flatter look.
Price: 2GB (Free), 100GB ($9.99/month)
Best Game: Monument Valley
Picture an interactive puzzle game made out of an M.C. Escher painting and you'll have some idea of what to expect from the visually stunning Monument Valley. You guide the small princess Ida through impossible optical illusions, and the accompaning music only makes it better. Sadly, it only has 10 levels, right now. We're anxiously awaiting more.
MORE: Top 12 Android Games
Best Fitness App: MyFitnessPal
A fitness app should not only coach you on how to lose weight and keep healthy, it should also motivate you to get moving. MyFitnessPal provides support and guidance on keeping calories off the healthy way with its comprehensive library of nutritional information and more than 350 exercise suggestions. It also helps you set goals and connect with friends who use MyFitnessPal so you can cheer each other on. The app creates detailed reports of your progress.
MORE: 10 Best Fitness Apps
Best Music App: Spotify
Whether you're looking for the latest Katy Perry single or some obscure disco ditty from 1977, you'll be able to find and play it with Spotify. The music service has an extensive library of songs to choose from, and allows you to download your custom playlists for offline listening. The fully functional app costs $9.99 per month, but you can use the company's online, ad-supported radio channels for free.
Price: $9.99/month, Free (radio only)
MORE: 12 Best Music Apps
Best TV/Video App: Netflix
There's a reason Netflix is the most popular streaming service. For $7.99 a month, you get unlimited access to a library filled with thousands of popular TV shows and movies. The Netflix app can stream directly to your mobile device while maintaining your place in videos you began watching on your TV or PC. The app also features a strong search engine, detailed recommendations and an attractive user interface with images, plot descriptions and user ratings. You can even share your device and account with friends and family, thanks to support for Netflix Profiles.
MORE: 10 Best TV Apps
Best Note-Taking App: Evernote
Think of it as your digital memory. With Evernote, you can jot down your notes for work or school, and edit them on any device, including your tablet, phone or laptop. You can do a lot more than just take text-based notes with the Evernote mobile app; it takes dictation and lets you photograph documents or record sound directly into your notes. The iOS 7 version features a persistent Create Note button on every page in addition to a streamlined new look.
Price: Free, $5/month (premium version)
Best Productivity App: Microsoft Office
There is no longer a need for third-party apps to convert Microsoft Word documents into a different format so they can be edited from your phone or tablet. Microsoft has been nice enough to supply us all with iOS and Android versions. That means you can access, view and edito your Word, Ecel and PowerPoint documents anywhere. Documents even look like their originals, with formatting remaining intact.
Best Photo App: Snapseed
Whether your phone shoots brilliant high-res photos or mediocre snapshots, you'll want to edit your images before sharing them. Snapseed makes it easy to do a lot more than just basic sizing, rotating and cropping. Seven different filters -- including black and white, vintage and grunge -- can add a dose of style or make your brand-new photo look like you took it on an old-school camera.
Best Messaging App: WhatsApp
Sure, you can send messages and pictures with your phone's regular texting service, but a full-featured messaging app lets you send richer content, such as location info, fun stickers and more. With Whatsapp, you can also chat with up to 50 friends in a group to organize reunions or potluck dinners. And when those large conferences get out of hand, you can leave the group or mute the conversation for up to a week. Set statuses so your friends know when to leave you alone. The new iOS 7 version packs a Facebook-like broadcast list feature on top of a fresh sleek look.
Price: $0.99 (iOS), $0.99/year (Android), Free (Windows Phone and BB)
MORE: Best Free Texting Apps
Best iOS Exclusive App: Dark Sky
Featuring a beautifully simple design, Dark Sky combines an intuitive layout with more weather information than you thought you needed. We love that you can see how long a particular rain storm will last, when precipitation will be heaviest and when it will stop. You can access global radar, as well as a temperature map.
Best Android Exclusive App: FoxFi
With the right app you can do most anything, even save on about $20 you normally pay your cable provider for giving you hotspot functionality. FoxFi lets you tether your tablet, laptop or even game console to your smartphone's data connection via USB or Bluetooth. The data you use comes from the same pool you'd use with your smartphone, so you'll want to take care not to go over your limit..